36. Firm Resolution
On the morning of December 4, 1874, as Rin Masui tried to get up, she strangely felt pain. Both of her eyes had become badly swollen. They grew worse each day. When the consulting doctor diagnosed it as glaucoma, she became frightened. She received medical treatment, but finally lost her eyesight. This happened two years after her husband passed away.
The whole family was overcome with grief. During the year-end and New Year’s season, twelve-year-old Ikutaro, the elder child, heard the news of a god from a fellow traveler at Tatsuta. The traveler said, “The god ‘Tenryu-san’ at Shoyashiki in Yamato will save anyone from any sickness. One has only to offer prayers for three days and three nights.” Upon Ikutaro’s return, the parent and child promptly began praying for three days and three nights, facing toward Yamato, but there was no sign of improvement. So they sent a man-servant, Tamehachi, to Shoyashiki to pray for the family. He left Ogata early in the morning, and arrived at the Residence before noon. Tamehachi saw Oyasama, who was wearing the red garments, and he prayed to Her. He listened to the teachings from the intermediaries and asked to have the main points of the teachings written down on paper to take home.
As Ikutaro read aloud to Rin the notes that Tamehachi had brought home, Rin said, “Since we have thus received God’s teachings, I don’t care what happens to my physical body. For the sake of eliminating the family innen I will engage in the work of single-hearted salvation, not minding the severe cold and heat, and even if I have to walk with the aid of two canes. We three, mother and children, will follow the path with joy, even through fire and water.” This was the firm resolution of the whole family.
Not only Rin, but Ikutaro as well as eight-year-old Tomie poured cold water over themselves as a form of ascetic ritual. The whole family joined in a three-day and three-night prayer. Facing Jiba, they chanted, “Namu, Tenri-Ō-no-Mikoto,” over and over, and prayed earnestly.
The dawn of the third day came. Rin had been sitting before the brazier throughout the prayer, and Tomie, who was sitting beside her mother, noticed a ray of light through a slight opening in the door. She said, without thinking, “Mother, it’s daybreak.”
Hearing her daughter’s voice, Rin turned toward the front door. She saw a gleam of light through a slight opening in the door. Thinking that it might be a dream, she quickly stood up, rushed to the front entrance and rolled open the sliding door. Outside it was glittering with morning sunlight, just as it had been years before. She had received a wonderful blessing and had recovered her eyesight completely.
Rin returned at once to Jiba to offer her thanks. She thanked Oyasama through the intermediary, Gisaburo Nakata. Oyasama said:
“Sah, sah, you lost your eyesight during one night. Sah, sah, it is an innen, innen. God has drawn you to this Residence. Welcome, welcome home. Sayemon,* please explain the teachings in detail to her. Please explain to her.”
Rin stayed over that night. The next day she heard the teachings from Nakata. While she was learning the hand movements for the morning and evening service, she received Oyasama’s words:
“Sah, sah, your soul has an innen. When it is the divine will to use a person in God’s service, God will draw that person to this Residence by any means. Be thankful and follow the path joyfully, no matter what you may encounter. Persons who are destined to be used as instruments in God’s service will be drawn to this Residence even by means of physical pain. Because I must draw you even by means of giving you suffering, what I do is different depending on the person. It is natural that there is difference. Because of My intent, you never got any better. It was only natural that you never got any better because I do things differently. Your eyesight never improved. Sah, sah, it is an innen, innen. Sayemon, please explain in detail. You could not see because it was as if God’s hands were in front of your eyes. Sah, she says she cannot see ahead. When the hands are removed you can see at once. You can see, can’t you? Sah, sah, take heart, take heart. You will not have any hardships, even if you wish to undergo hardships. It is all up to the individual’s mind.”
Rin stayed over again that night. The next morning, she asked Nakata to tell Oyasama that she was returning to Kawachi, and she again received Oyasama’s words:
“You just heard a bit of the teachings and you have returned from a far place, passing through mountain trails and valleys. Sah, sah, I accept your firm resolution. Look ahead with joy, with joy. Sah, sah, I will provide you with clothing, food, and spending money. Remember you are to serve God for a long time. Sah, sah, look ahead, look ahead, look ahead with joy.”
Rin was speechless and was moved to tears. Rin Masui was then thirty-two years of age.
* Gisaburo Nakata was the former Sayemon Nakata. In or about 1873, due to the Japanese government’s edict abolishing names ending in “-suke,” and “-yemon,” “Sayemon” was changed to “Gisaburo.”